The Velvet Underground Songs Ranked

The Velvet Underground was an American rock band formed in 1964 in New York City by singer/guitarist Lou Reed, multi-instrumentalist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and drummer Angus MacLise (replaced by Moe Tucker in 1965). The band was initially active between 1965 and 1973 and was briefly managed by the pop artist Andy Warhol, serving as the house band at the Factory and Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable events from 1966 to 1967. Their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico (with German-born singer and model Nico), was released in 1967 to critical indifference and poor sales but has become critically acclaimed; in 2003, Rolling Stone called it the “most prophetic rock album ever made. Here are all of The Velvet Underground’s songs ranked.

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20. What Goes On (Boston Tea Party 1969)

“This narrator’s girlfriend (or wife) just dumped him. he’s cluelessly wondering why she just doesn’t simply quit all this nonsense and just do what she should, then everything will “work alright.” We’ve all been in his situation- I know i have! but everybody listening to the song knows, better than the narrator, that she isn’t EVER coming back. irony. great song to deceive yourself with your being dumped – not to mention outstanding rhythm guitar work by the late great sterling morrison. I’ve always liked his playing amd this song is the best example of his excellence.”

19. After Hours (The Velvet Underground, 1969)

“This song feels like an entity of its own. It’s unlike any Velvet Underground song ever recorded, it’s like a dark, twisted nursery rhyme. I can’t even describe how I feel during this song as it makes me both blissfully happy, and utterly depressed. It’s their most beautiful song, and one of the best closing tracks of all time.”

18. I Heard Her Call My Name (White Light/White Heat, 1968)

“I started buying Velvet Underground albums many years ago. So the ones I bought were those reissues with the Kurt Loder liner notes. He wrote that this song “featured one of the most withering guitar flip-outs in the history of the instrument.” I had to hear it. He wasn’t kidding…it’s like some kind of primal scream therapy. This is what happens when you feel your mind split open. Lou Reed was forced to go through electroconvulsive therapy as a teenager, so he knew all about that. I love all this guitar squealing, it’s fine if my mind splits open (a little).”

17. I Found a Reason (Loaded, 1970)

“The best velvet underground song ever! Totally underrated. It makes me feel things I’ve never felt before. I always heave a deep sigh every time I listen to this song.”

See more: The Velvet Underground Albums Ranked

16. Lady Godiva’s Operation (White Light/White Heat, 1968)

“I’m Waiting for the Man is my favourite VU song, but this comes close. John Cale said White Light/White Heat was anti-beauty, but I think this is about as beautiful as VU, or many other bands get. Although the lyrics are somewhat disturbing, the music and the singing, as well as the melody, which has echoes of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” are amazing.”

15. Who Loves the Sun (Loaded, 1970)

“Come on, this is the best Velvet Underground song! It has got a whole new level of mysticism and beauty! Makes me wanna listen to it, again and again!”

14. All Tomorrow’s Parties (The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967)

“These guys just hit such unbelievable lows and rather than kill themselves — they made music telling tales from the other spectrum of life. I just can’t get over how thankful I am to their music — it isn’t necessarily offering solutions but more, bringing these mentalities to the surface. Superficiality is so, so far away from their music — it is so fucking REAL.”

13. Candy Says (Boston Tea Party, 1969)

“This is the sweetest song ever written. It should be at the top in my humble opinion, my favorite song from the velvets. It’s so cool listening to this song right after “Sister Ray” ends. It’s like the morning after a big blowout (White Light /White Heat album) into a calming after effect (The Velvet Underground). Beautiful song, a beautiful album. Really shows the diversity and brilliance of the VU.”

12. Femme Fatale (The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967)

“It doesn’t matter who it is about to lou.( he wrote it i think) Its about to me, all those girls we just cant have, about the ones that just tease or beautiful ones that just act to high above us. “she’s going to smile to make you frown, what a clown” its a great song”

11. Rock and Roll (The Velvet Underground, 1969)

“This song is considered by many, including myself, to be the start of many great bands today. This song was also quoted and played on the game Civilization IV when you get get the technology of Raido and you complete the project of Rock ‘n’ Roll. And if anyone is wondering, my life was saved my Rock ‘n’ Roll many times.”

10. I’ll Be Your Mirror (The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967)

“Love the simple beauty of the message “I’ll be your mirror”. All of us are fragile and in need of reassuring and finding someone who understands you without even saying anything makes you feel that everything will be alright, even when it isn’t. Having someone who’ll be with you in all seasons, in times of happiness and sadness is one of life’s treasures.”

9. White Light / White Heat (White Light/White Heat, 1968)

“White Light/White Heat is the best album the Velvet Underground, and any of its members, ever made, and it is probably the most influential out of their staggeringly influential work.”

8. Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ (Loaded, 1970)

“I love the simple chords, and the melody is just amazing – especially the solo. Lou Reed is an underrated guitarist, He doesn’t need to play extremely fast like Page and Clapton were doin at the time, he plays with such a sweet tone. with respect to page and clapton of course.”

7. I’m Waiting for My Man (The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967)

“The song is incredibly straight-forward, but its self-aware of how limiting and pathetic the junkie’s experience is. It’s conscious of how depressing his lifestyle is in a “black humor” sorta way.”

See more: Creedence Clearwater Revival Albums Ranked

6. Sister Ray (White Light/White Heat, 1968)

“Pushed the limits of rock n roll as a genre, walking the fine line at most times between a long rock epic and a simple ‘noise rock’ jam. Lou and Sterling’s guitar licks are strong, almost as if competing for the spotlight in the song. Cale’s organ keeps things interesting and freaky, and Moe Tucker’s drums keep everything from descending into pure chaos. The best 17 min song you’ll find, mini version is best.”

5. Pale Blue Eyes (The Velvet Underground, 1969)

“As I see it, it’s about that friend who is more than that, and you both know you want to be more than that, but life doesn’t help to make it happen, and yet you stay around because even though the romance is impossible there is so much more than that.”

4. Venus in Furs (The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967)

“One of the sexiest rock songs I have ever heard. A disturbing musical tapestry of the dark underground realities of fetishes & S&M. That dissonant viola sounds GOOD.”

3. Sweet Jane (The Velvet Underground, 1969)

“Takes me back to my teen years. Yes, I did inhale a bit of that “sweet Jane”. The velvet underground with lou and nico were very much in tune with the counter culture of the time. We had some great times listening to this band.”

2. Sunday Morning (The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967)

“I think this song represents a tranquil feeling or state of mind, with a disturbing reminiscent undertone. This song is about a peaceful day with lots of time to think. In using this time to contemplate one’s life, the artist has discovered a sense of regret for their past. This brings on a sense of paranoia which describes the lyrics “watch out the world’s behind you”. The lyrics “praise the dawning” can also symbolize regrets that belong to the night before.”

1. Heroin (The Velvet Underground & Nico, 1967)

“It’s so different from any song ever. It describes perfectly a concept and makes you feel so many emotions with only two chords. Lou’s singing it’s way more awesome in this song with that rushing-dragging… In conclusion, why would you do heroin if you can listen to this song?”